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© 1993, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Ways to identify and treat smut fungi are given here.

Smut fungi infect various grasses, either cultivated or found naturally in the wild. In turfgrass, one of the most common smut diseases is stripe smut caused by Ustilago striiformis.

Stripe smut occurs most commonly on Kentucky bluegrass, occasionally on bentgrass and rarely on fine fescues and perennial ryegrass; it has not been reported to occur on zoysia. The widespread use of susceptible Kentucky bluegrass cultivars has contributed to the common occurrence of stripe smut.

Stripe smut should not be taken lightly by turfgrass managers. Infection causes a general decline, and often an early death of grass stands. Plants infected by U. striiformis remain infected for life.